Fast Food Ethics: Subway’s Chicken TASTES Like Chicken—Isn’t That Enough?

OK, what's in this Teriyaki Sweet Onion Chicken sandwich? (Hint: It's a trick question...)

OK, what’s in this  Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sandwich? (Hint: It’s a trick question…)

DNA researcher Matt Harnden at Trent University’s Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory, working out of  Peterborough, Ontario, analyzed six popular chicken sandwiches served at various fast food chains. Unadulterated chicken should have 100% chicken DNA, or close to it. Seasoning, marinating or processing meat  bring that number down some , so fast food  wouldn’t be expected to have a perfect score.

The chicken in the following sandwiches were tested: McDonald’s Country Chicken – Grilled,Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich, A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe,Tim Hortons Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap, Subway Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich, and Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, which is made with chicken strips.

The lab tested two samples of five of the chicken meat fillings, and one sample of the Subway strips. From each of those samples, the researchers isolated three smaller samples and tested each of those. The scores were then averaged for each sandwich. The results?

The A&W Chicken Grill Deluxe averaged 89.4 per cent chicken DNA

The McDonald’s Country Chicken – Grilled averaged 84.9 per cent chicken DNA

Tim Hortons Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap averaged 86.5 per cent chicken DNA

Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich averaged 88.5 per cent chicken DNA

And Subway’s chicken sandwiches?

Just 53.6 per cent chicken DNA was in the chicken used in the Oven Roasted. For the alleged chicken strips in the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, there was 42.8 per cent chicken DNA, and the rest God knows what.

All right, it was mostly soy.

Subway said in a statement that it “disagrees with the test results.” Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

“Our recipe calls for one per cent or less of soy protein in our chicken products,” they said.

Ah! Well if your recipe calls for that, then the tests must be wrong then! Thanks for the clarification!

“We will look into this again with our supplier to ensure that the chicken is meeting the high standard we set for all of our menu items and ingredients.”

Sure! Why wouldn’t anyone trust you to do the right thing now that you have been caught?

My guess is that Subway figured that since there is so much other stuff in a typical sub sandwich, nobody would notice if the “chicken” was half soy. I wonder how long they have been pulling this? I know this was the Canadian version of the chain, but since Canada is a nanny state paradise where all the children are above average and the government employs hoards of well-paid inspectors who live to enforce regulations and make certain that no company would dare to stick a chicken-rat, er, chicken-soy hybrid in a chicken sandwich, we have to assume that the Subway chicken in the U.S. is even worse, right?

Fortunately, I gave up eating at Subway after I got tired of having to explain to their untrained staff that nooooo, you don’t put mayonnaise on an Italian Sub, and come to think of it, any joint called Subway that thinks an Italian sub should have mayonnaise probably thinks chicken should be 50% soy. (And, of course, their foot long subs weren’t really a foot long.)

Yes, my friends, this is misrepresentation, false advertising, and worst of all, bad taste.



Facts: CBC

28 thoughts on “Fast Food Ethics: Subway’s Chicken TASTES Like Chicken—Isn’t That Enough?

  1. “where all the children are above average”

    I do not know if this is normal or not, but when reading an article I kind of, assign a mental voice to it as I read?

    Sadly Jack, henceforth all of your articles will come out with Garrison Keillor as narrator.

        • C’mon, t. You know perfectly well that if the chiles alone hadn’t lived up to your definition of #(%//^!+, Subway wouldn’t be selling any sandwiches in Texas. I know for sure they’re not the same here: I’ve had ’em … didn’t even disguise the taste of the quinoa-dragon fruit-and-brown rice on ampan.

          However, congratulations on eating a vegetable!

            • Slick, I concede five tomatoes for that. And that explains the pepper’s presence on t’s menu: for a moment I thought he had slipped too far West. For myself, having lived in the interior villages of South India for three years, just remembering the look of those killer “fruits” makes my eyes water. Mouth, too, but that to no avail; I don’t want to die yet. Bon appétit, Texans.

  2. Oh yuck. Will someone run DNA tests on the cold cuts we buy at the grocery store, or even cheese? I suppose we have to buy meat-on-the-bone to have any idea what we’re really buying, but since chickens and steers and pigs are all fed all kinds of chemicals we’re still ignorant of what we’re eating.

    I’ve been thinking of going vegetarian (eggs and milk… whatever that’s called), but for emotional reasons and because of my absolute belief that animals are sentient beings and it’s purely a matter of culture what animals we love as pets and which ones we eat. Now, with this Subway info, I may have to add some actual science to my decision-making. Thanks.

    • When I was a tractor/trailer driver pulling a refrigerated trailer, I often found myself shuttling processed meat paste in massive cardboard, plastic-lined tubs between Louis Rich and Oscar Meyer. If you saw some of the things that I did, and smelled the smells, you’d never touch processed meat again.

  3. In fact, it doesn’t taste at all like chicken. It tastes like the petrochemical pollution surrounding an oil refinery. But, that is the taste many people think is chicken.

  4. The biggest adjustment for me moving from a farm to a city was the meat — and not just in restaurants, but the grocery store too. Farm to table meat doesn’t just taste better, it tastes different.

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